Wednesday, July 19, 2006


"We are our stories, we are the lives we tell." ( Anonymous poet from Seattle):

Isn't it the other way around? My life tells me. I'm born into a set of circumstances from which several stories may issue forth. Each choice takes me into a different story. If I am lucky, it is the story, which I created for myself. Often it is the story that others created for me. When the two stories clash, it's crisis time. The Chinese sign for crisis combines two symbols: danger and opportunity. Or, if you wish to intensify, or universalize, the contrasts, terror and beauty.

Terror surrounds us, beauty beckons. Terror defines us. Beauty revives us.

The story we tell of our life is that of terror, crisis, suffering, punctuated by rare moments of beauty. Terror is the life we live. Beauty is the life we could have lived. Beauty is the narrow bridge. It is so narrow, it is no more than a filament. But its power sustains, nourishes our starvation, hunger, sorrows. As we walk on that bridge, so flimsy, swaying over the chasm, we do not tell a story. We are too occupied coping with our terror to tell a proper story.

A story happens when our experience of terror is turned into beauty. Why does this transformation occur? Because the story gives meaning to our travails. Beauty is the meaning we attach to our life in the hope of defeating terror. That's when we tell the story of our life and imagine there is some grand scheme to it.

Is the opposite of terror really beauty? Or are they both companions on the same journey?


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